4 percent more young people use antidepressants

Physicians should exercise restraint in prescribing antidepressants to children and young people up to the age of 25, partly because of an increased risk of suicidality from using this medication. In 2020, more than 51,000 children and young people between the ages of 6 and 24 received an antidepressant through the community pharmacy. That is 1.5 percent of all people in this age group. 87 percent are over the age of 18.

The number of youth users in 2020 is 4 percent higher than a year earlier, which is a stronger growth than in 2019 (2.6 percent) and 2018 (0.1 percent). It is young adults who have started taking antidepressants more often, while the number of teenagers on antidepressants has actually decreased somewhat. These findings are in line with the results of a recent study by the health institute Nivel, which showed that during the second lockdown, GPs more often prescribed antidepressants to young people.

Most commonly used antidepressant

Fluoxetine is the drug of first choice in adolescents under 18 years of age. In case of insufficient response, sertraline or citalopram can be used. TCAs (tricyclic antidepressants) have not been shown to be effective in minors, which is why SSRIs (selective serotonin reuptake inhibitors) are preferred. For people over 18, in addition to fluoxetine, sertraline, citalopram and paroxetine are also suitable to start with, says SFK. In line with the standards, the most commonly used drug by minors is fluoxetine, with 3,100 users in 2020, followed by setraline (1,900) and citalopram (1,600). Citalopram leads the way with 9,300 users among young people aged 18 to 24. Then comes sertraline (7,800) and then fluoxetine (6,900). Both top 5’s contain one TCA: amitriptyline. Because amitriptyline has more indications, it is impossible to say to what extent the drug is used in young people for depression.

By: National Care Guide
Source: Pharmaceutical Key Figures Foundation

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